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Distance runners pace track and field Friday
Friday, March 29, 2013
By Ryan Hilgemann
Distance runners pace track and field Friday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb track and field teams are spending the beginning of their Easter Holiday at one of the most prestigious track and field meets in the country, the Raleigh Relays.

The annual event hosted by North Carolina State brings together 87 NCAA institutions as well as club and professional teams. The two-day meet started Friday and continues Saturday.

“We had a terrific first day at the Raleigh Relays,” Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field, said. “A couple of school records fell and some big breakthroughs. I’m very happy with what we have so far.”

Lipscomb had a strong showing from its distance corps led by Katie Bunker with a personal record in the 1500-meter run. Her time of 4:30.27 placed her 10th in the second section.

“Katie dropped three seconds off her PR and also broke Dani Walker’s school record,” Taylor said. “She really wanted a sub-4:30 today but that is coming soon. She is having a terrific season.”

Kendra Lobley ran a 16:44.45 in the first section of the 5000-meter run. In section II, Madelin Talbert and Tessa Hoefle finished back-to-back for 7th and 8th place

The men’s 5000 saw Jared Wingerter set a personal record with a 14:47.69 in the second section. In the fourth section, Daniel Gardner finished sixth in a personal-record 15:03.91. Isaiah Greer finished just behind Gardner in a time of 15:17.35.

“The 5000 races were the highlight,” Taylor said. “Kendra showed she is right where she was last year, having her best race of the season. Madi and Tessa joined the sub-17 club, giving us four active girls on our roster with sub-17 5k times. Minna Fields just missed running a big personal record of 17:01.

“Jared continues to impress everyone, dropping another 10 seconds off his personal record. I think he is a serious threat to take down the school record.

With the 5000-meter times, two athletes in the Purple and Gold have qualified for the US Junior National Championships taking place this summer.

“Gardner with his PR and Talbert with her 16:49.54 each have qualified for the Junior National Championships,” Taylor said. “Talbert has qualified for the 1500, 3000, 5000 and 3000 steeplechase.”

Ashton Fisher claimed 12th place in the 3000-meter steeplechase. His time of 9:43.03 was three-tenths of a second in front of Cody Hodgins of Charlotte.

Kevin Floyd won the second section of the pole vault. A vault of 4.75 meters claimed the top spot, in front of fellow Atlantic Sun Conference competitor Chris Winkle of ETSU who vaulted 4.55 meters.

“Kevin really got things going with a school record in the vault,” Taylor said. “He had a good attempt at 16-feet and he showed he will get that height and more.”

Competing on the second day at the Raleigh Relays will be the 4X1500 relay, 10,000-meter run along with jumps and throws on the field events.

“We should set a new women’s 4X1500 school record,” Taylor said. “Tucker will run in the 200-meter dash and three of our women will run in the 10,000. It will be fun to wrap things up on a positive note here.”

Also competing today was a contingent of Bisons and Lady Bisons at the Bill Cornell Spring Classic in Carbondale, Ill. The meet hosted by Southern Illinois had six events to kick off the first day of action with the rest continuing Saturday.

Bethany Imperial and Kaitlin Collier finished back-to-back in the long jump. Imperial had a leap of 4.69 meters while Collier finished 4.66 meters.

The only other competitor for Lipscomb on the first day in Carbondale was Caleb Love, who also competed in the long jump. Love had a jump of 6.32 meters to finish 16th overall.

Action continues at both meets Saturday morning with an 8:30 a.m. start time in Raleigh and a 9 a.m. start at Southern Illinois.